How to Help Someone Who Has Difficulty Swallowing and Drinking

What's left in your caregiver bag of tricks to entice your loved one to drink once it starts getting difficult to offer liquids even on a baby spoon or through a straw?

  1. Try an oral syringe if the ability to suck or swallow seems to disappear. You can get them at hospital supply stores or from your local pharmacy.

  2. Use a small oral sponge to offer water or juice refreshment. Some medications for late-stage dementia are dispensed this way. (To clean an oral syringe or sponge, just rinse it with water and allow it to air-dry.)

  3. Take care to keep the lips and gums moistened, for comfort as well as hydration.

Paula Spencer Scott

Paula Spencer Scott is the author of Surviving Alzheimer's: Practical Tips and Soul-Saving Wisdom for Caregivers and much of the Alzheimer's and caregiving content on Caring. See full bio